As the economy struggles to dig itself out a huge hole, one industry has vowed to help put 100K veterans to work over the next five years. Last month, more than 100 construction companies and associations pledged to hire more than 100,000 veterans by 2019 at a conference sponsored by the Department of Labor and Joining Forces, a nationwide effort launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to rally the country around military veterans, active duty service members, and their families.
In an article in the Boston Globe, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said the announcement marked the first time an entire industry has promised to focus on providing training and job opportunities to veterans of the military. The construction industry, one of the fastest growing in the country, added nearly 180,000 jobs in 2012 and 48,000 in January 2014 alone. In all, the industry is estimated to add 1.5 million jobs through 2022.
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time for thousands of troops returning home from Afghanistan later this year. Over the past two years, unemployment numbers among service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have steadily declined, though the rate – 7.6 percent in January – remains a bit higher than the 6.6 percent unemployment rate nationwide.
Since its inception in 2011, nearly 400,000 veterans and their spouses have been hired under the Joining Forces initiative. Notable companies participating in the effort include Disney, UPS, Starbucks, and Walmart.
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